NEW YORK -- Marine Lt. Gen. Robert Magnus, Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources threw the opening pitch during Sunday's baseball game at Shea Stadium at which the New York Mets honored all services for their Military Appreciation Day 2004.
"It's a great opportunity to represent the Marines and other service members serving everywhere today," Magnus said. "If I can get my pitch across home plate, that just represents how those Marines get the pitch across home plate every single time."
Seventy-two New York Marines in Desert Combat Utilities represented the Corps and the other services at the game.
Representing the Corps at Shea Stadium in Queens was especially meaningful for Magnus, who is a Brooklyn native.
"I love coming back here," said Magnus. "New Yorkers know we're part of them...that the Corps is made up of people like them, their friends, and their neighbors."
During the day, baseball fans toured the stadium and viewed static displays of weapons and vehicles.
"We got to go on a couple trucks and see some really cool stuff," said Brooklyn native Daniel Roman. "This is great!"
The Mets have adopted 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines as the unit to receive care supplies collected at the game. Fans dropped off care supplies at each gate, which the Mets will send to 2/2 in Iraq. New York Marine Corps League members also collected money at each gate for care supplies to send to Iraq.
"People really gave from their hearts today," said Barnett Cohen, Commandant of the North Shore Queens Marine Corps League Detachment. The league members raised $6,000 at the game to send care supplies.
"We dropped off a few items earlier," said John Rondello, from Brooklyn. "I think that was a great idea," he said. "We should all support everyone serving overseas, and helping to send packages really shows our support."
The Marines in the gate also shared in that support.
"When I see Marines in the Color Guard or members of the Marine Corps League walking around the stadium," said Magnus, "it reminds me of all the Marines they represent to the people who see them," he said. "Those Marines know they're representing the Corps."
"It's really motivating," said Cpl. Kyle Shank, a Marine with Marine Aircraft Group 49 in Newburgh, N.Y., who performed as part of the Color Guard. "When the whole stadium cheered for us, the hair on the back of my neck stood up," he said. "It really felt like all of America is behind us."